Take Up Thy Bed!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house (Matthew 9:6 KJV).

On three occasions, we read of Jesus’ words, “Arise, take up thy bed!”

Today’s Scripture in context involves verses 1-8, but let us concentrate on verses 2 and 6: “And, behold, they brought to him [Jesus] a man sick of the palsy [paralytic], lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee…. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

Mark 2:1-12 is the parallel passage. We focus on verses 9, 11, and 12: “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?… I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”

The final instance is John 5:1-12, an “impotent” (sick) man healed. Verses 8 and 9 in particular: “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.”

Why were these two men to carry their beds (mattresses or pallets)? Firstly, this newly-imparted strength from God proved they were indeed healed. No one could dismiss them as still infirm and feeble. These were genuine miracles. Secondly, they were to never forget their wretched condition out of which the Lord delivered them. “Yes, I was incapacitated without Jesus Christ. Look at this bed where I laid helpless and hopeless! Then, the Lord set me free from such spiritual inability. Now, as you can see, I walk in righteousness!”

Believing Unbelievers #7

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

We can fool people some of the time, but we can fool God none of the time. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Holy Bible penetrates down to our innermost being, for it is the means whereby the God of the Bible evaluates just what ideas our heart entertains and exactly what plans our heart devises.

Dear friends, let us never forget to avoid religious hypocrisy at all costs. To appear to be a Christian, to sound like a Christian, but still be “in Adam” instead of being “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) does not deceive the Lord! He knows it is not Christ’s life in us but our flesh copying or mimicking. A denomination or theological system has been formed in us, but not Christ (Galatians 4:19). The internal, not the external, is what carries the greatest weight in eternity. Indeed, it is entirely possible to be the most pious soul on Earth—the world’s most dedicated church member, incumbered with innumerable rules and regulations—and still wind up going to eternal damnation, for believing in the head is no substitute for believing in the heart.

To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in the heart means we have already learned and admitted our performance is insufficient and always will be. In our heart, we have reckoned as true our need for the Saviour and all that He has done and all that He can do for us at Calvary’s cross. Ultimately, it is His life in us, “That Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith…” (Ephesians 3:17). May we be believing (heart) believers, not believing (head) unbelievers. Remember, God knows the difference! 🙂

Believing Unbelievers #6

Monday, March 28, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

While advantageous (when compared to ignorance), being knowledgeable of Bible truth in and of itself does not automatically guarantee one has a right standing before God. For example, consider this startling passage: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Did they not address Jesus as “Lord?” Did they not perform “good” deeds? They preached, cast out devils, and did “many wonderful works”and even gave Jesus (not Satan) all the credit. Despite this, He rejects them, telling them He has never had an intimate relationship with them. Moreover, He remarks, “Ye that work iniquity [evil, wickedness]!” They had spiritual light, but they were deceived because they did not genuinely receive it and actually believe it in the heart. It was intellectualism and fleshliness, religious busyness, but not God’s work in and through them. Unfortunately, Hell and the Lake of Fire will be packed with billions of such souls. They sat in church buildings and attended Bible studies for decades, seeing and hearing God’s Word over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. They looked like and talked like believers. Yet, no personal faith in the heart was ever exercised in Christ Jesus’ finished crosswork at Calvary.

They knew of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was far better for them to have known Him, or, rather, for Him to have known them….

Believing Unbelievers #5

Sunday, March 27, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

The opening verses of Acts chapter 8 report the Evangelist Philip’s ministry in Samaria. However, Satan is working here too! “[9] But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: [10] To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. [11] And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. [12] But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. [13] Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” Be sure to note verse 13, “Simon himself believed also.”

When the Apostles Peter and John subsequently visited Samaria, Simon saw their miracle-working power and offered to pay them to receive their spiritual influence (see verses 14-19). Verses 20,21: “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” Whereas Simon had “believed” (verse 13), the Holy Spirit through Peter condemned Simon’s heart as wicked. Like those of today’s Scripture, carnal or fleshly Simon believed in his head, but his heart was void of faith. Remember, Romans 10:10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” Religious intellectualism, superficial mental agreement, is not true faith. Genuine faith is our heart or soul trusting God’s Word….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘listeth’ mean?

Believing Unbelievers #4

Saturday, March 26, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Imagine being in today’s Scripture. To watch the Lord heal the sick, cast out devils, and do other mighty miracles would have truly been a sight to behold! It is beyond our comprehension. Yet, He was not seeking to entertain anyone—and He knew who was present just for amusement, to experience a spiritual high or adrenaline rush.

Consider modern Christendom. We notice many people walking aisles, making professions of faith, kneeling and bawling uncontrollably at “altars,” dancing and lifting hands to “praise and worship” music, packing stadium “sanctuaries,” sitting in confessional booths, being water baptized, reciting the “sinner’s prayer,” teaching Sunday School classes, preaching fervent sermons, knocking on doors, passing out tracts and Bibles, joining faculties of prestigious seminaries, sitting on Bible translation committees, talking about “Jesus” and “the Holy Ghost,” writing “Christian” study “aids,” memorizing creeds and confessions, organizing missions trips, travelling and setting up “healing tents,” and a host of other activities. The average person cannot help but remark, “Look at all these ‘Christians!’”

One brother in Christ observed: “God did not give the Scriptures for the purpose of scholarly intellectual exercise.” Yet, as he pointed out, innumerable people have used them—are using them—for just that. Textual critics study Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. They pore over ancient manuscripts, teach theology and church history classes, and debate “Christian” philosophy, but is there any personal heart faith in the Bible itself? How many of them are actually Bible-believing Christians? Who are members of the Church the Body of Christ, and who are simply members of manmade denominations? Do they know what the Gospel of Grace even is? Could they show us verses for victorious Christian living?

Intellectual assent is no substitute for heart faith….

Bible Q&A #935: “What are ‘victuals?’

Believing Unbelievers #3

Friday, March 25, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Those present in Jerusalem in John chapter 2 were indeed religious, for they had come to celebrate Passover according to the Law of Moses. Furthermore, when they witnessed Jesus’ miracles, the Bible informs us “many believed in his name.” Their piety and “faith” make them appear to be genuine believers. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit’s commentary provided in the rest of the passage indicates something else entirely.

“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” The Greek word translated “commit”“episteuo”—was rendered “believed” in the previous verse. Although they believed in Him, He did not believe in them. The reason is provided in the fact the Lord Jesus Christ was and is an omniscient Being. He knows what people are like; no one has to lecture Him on the human condition. After all, He Himself wrote the following verses: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9,10). You can also read His unappealing assessment of us in Matthew 15:10-20 and Mark 7:14-23!

Human nature is sinful, for it constantly tries to replace God’s life with something else (human “good” and/or human evil). Also, emotions and “thrills and chills” (an insatiable quest for entertainment) corrupt man’s internal makeup. We like to be amused—and that was precisely the problem with the spectators in today’s Scripture. They were not people of faith in the heart, but curiosity seekers looking for a “good time.” Even now, 20 centuries later, it is a recurring difficulty in religious circles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘casement?’

Believing Unbelievers #2

Thursday, March 24, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Remember, the nation Israel is God’s “sign” people (Psalm 74:9), for “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22) and, as Jesus told His Jewish audience, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Consequently, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Matthew 4:23; cf. Matthew 9:35). “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,…” (Luke 8:1).

The Lord performed miracles to demonstrate or validate the Gospel of the Kingdom He was proclaiming. In His kingdom, blessings from God will preclude sickness and eliminate bondage to Satan. He also endowed His Apostles with this supernatural power: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:17-20; cf. Matthew 10:1-8).

When Christ executed miracles, it was not simply to give people carefree, problem-free lives. These miraculous demonstrations were proof His message was worthy of His audience’s trust. Yet, if they did not have a positive attitude toward these supernatural events, they would overlook the meaning and thus fail to genuinely believe the message conveyed thereby….

Believing Unbelievers #1

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

While Christianity is frequently assumed to be in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Bible believer understands Judaism is still operating during Christ’s earthly ministry. Read verse 13: “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,….” Why did the Lord visit Jerusalem for Passover? Of course, Galatians 4:4: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,….” The Law of Moses was in force while Jesus walked in the land of Palestine.

As a good, Law-keeping Jew, the Lord Jesus obeyed God’s words spoken through Moses. Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread [Passover]: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty: ) And the feast of harvest [Pentecost], the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the LORD God (Exodus 23:14-17). Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose [Jerusalem!]; in the feast of unleavened bread [Passover], and in the feast of weeks [Pentecost], and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:…” (Deuteronomy 16:16).

While Christ is celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, with all those foreign Jews visiting that city, He performs miracles. The crowd’s response is worthy of our reflection….

Israel: The Miracle Nation #10

Saturday, February 12, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

According to the Bible, Romans 7:12: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” The Law of Moses is definitely God’s Word. It expresses His righteousness and our failure to be perfect. No one in his or her own strength can become God’s child or do His will. Nearly 2,000 years of Jewish history—our Old Testament Scriptures—bear record of that fact. If we choose a performance-based acceptance system, we will receive nothing but curses from God. Yet, sin deceives us, and we assume we can perform to get the blessing. Human flesh always seeks to brag, but God’s grace will never accept it!

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh [human efforts], hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The Apostle Paul reaches back to Genesis 15:5, centuries before the Law of Moses was ever ratified. Here is God’s grace!

Human works, religious works, never delivered anyone from sin. The Law of Moses never saved anyone. All the Law can do is condemn, or show us we cannot do enough. It can impart no power to us to keep its rules and regulations! If sinners are to become God’s people—whether the nation Israel or the Church the Body of Christ—it will be entirely what God does on their behalf (grace!). Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (His work, that which perfectly satisfies the Law’s righteous demands!) applied to their account as sufficient payment for their sins. The nation Israel has yet to learn this, but God will see to it that she does. In the meantime, friends, may we not be stubborn and learn it.

Israel: The Miracle Nation #9

Friday, February 11, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

The Holy Spirit details how Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork will deliver the nation Israel in the ages to come. Consider the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-13: “For finding fault with them [law!], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant [grace!] with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt [law!]; because they continued not in my covenant [law!], and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant [grace!] that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will [grace!] put my laws into their mind, and [I will] [grace!] write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will [grace!!!!] be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I [grace!!!!] remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34, written 600 years before Christ, is now interpreted in light of Calvary. Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant—the Law of Moses—are now cancelled with the ratification of the New Covenant at Christ’s Second Coming (Hebrews 9:11-28; cf. Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-29). “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;…. For by one offering he hath [grace!!!!] perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-12,14).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….